Why can't I frost a cake??? I have serious issues with getting frosting on in a smooth coat. The frosting is impossible to spread smoothly. Plus my cakes seem sticky and I can't spread the frosting over them without getting crumbs in it. The result is always messy looking and/or a super thick coat of frosting. I've tried crumb coating, running my spatula under hot water, freezing the cake first, icing tip. Nothing seems to work. I end up with nice decorations (MMF) on top of a sloppy looking cake. Please help!
I use box cake (usually devil's food - I've tried all the brands) and homemade buttercream frosting (both regular buttercream (1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening) and chocolate buttercream (all butter)). I have the same results with everything. I just bake for my kids' birthdays and holidays but every time it ends up in total frustration because I can't frost the stupid cake!
Any tips are greatly appreciated. :)
It sounds to me like your icing is too thick. Have you tried thinning it down with a bit of liquid. Or maybe you need more fat/butter/shortening. Have you tried this recipe: '2 of everything'? http://www.cakecentral.com/recipe/61336/2-of-everything-icing
If your cake is sticky you might not be baking it long enough. Have you had your oven check for true temp? It's called 'calibrating' and usually can be done for free from the gas or electric companies. I baked from mixes also so that's my best guess.
Here's a great recipe I used in my shops for many years. Maybe that will help you.http://www.cakecentral.com/recipe/60392/the-original-wasc-cake-recipe
I was going to say the icing is probably too thick as well. I don't know if it's true or just that is stands out more, but my chocolate cakes are always more "crumby" than others!